The program will prepare students to enter a healthcare pre-apprenticeship program that addresses workforce demands
ApprenticeshipNH, a workforce program of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH), River Valley Community College (RVCC) in Claremont, New Hampshire and Dartmouth Health’s Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), New Hampshire’s only academic medical center, have partnered to create an innovative pre-apprenticeship program for high school students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare. The program willprepare students for entry into the medical assistant, pharmacy technician and surgical technologist registered apprenticeship programs of Dartmouth Health’s Dartmouth Hitchcock Workforce Readiness Institute (DHWRI). The 14-week program is open to high school seniors age 17 and older, who will participate in classroom instruction at RVCC and paid on-the-job learning as healthcare operations support assistants at DHMC in Lebanon.
The program’s pilot cohort of five students from high schools in New Hampshire and Vermont began Wednesday, March 23, 2022, with introductory classroom instruction at RVCC. The program will culminate on Friday, June 24, with a ceremony that includes an interview opportunity with the DHWRI apprenticeship programs and where they will be recognized with a Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate of Completion.
“We are thrilled to be part of this exciting new pre-apprenticeship program for high school students who are exploring careers in healthcare,” said Jenny Macaulay, manager of Workforce Strategy for Dartmouth Health. “The goal of this program is to help students make informed choices about their plans after graduation. Creating opportunities for our regional youth to enter the workforce with the skills, knowledge and readiness to succeed is at the heart of this program’s design, and supports the DHWRI’s goal of building a sustainable workforce pipeline that supports the work and mission of Dartmouth Health. This new program offers young people the opportunity to explore healthcare careers while they learn and earn, prepares them to continue employment within Dartmouth Health and to pursue advanced training and education.”
Pre-apprenticeship programs pave the way for participants to enroll in Registered Apprenticeship programs, where they can continue to learn and develop job skills through on-the-job training under the guidance of mentors. As employees from day one using the “earn while you learn” model, apprentices become part of an employer’s culture and are therefore more likely to stay with the employer for a period of time, which benefits both employee and employer.
Students participating in the health care pre-apprenticeship program will gain hands-on experience by working alongside teams that bring them into the inpatient, ambulatory, perioperative and pharmaceutical environments into which the DHWRI’s registered apprenticeship and training programs lead. While working, pre-apprentices will be able to see firsthand how the many roles in healthcare – clinical, supply, infection prevention, nutrition, diagnostic, surgical and administration – work together for patient care, thereby helping to discover their personal interests and career paths.
“This new pre-apprenticeship program provides an excellent opportunity for high school students to jump-start their careers in healthcare,” said Mary Ann Gaschnig, CCSNH’s high school apprentice and business outreach specialist. “The program provides a unique opportunity for pre-apprentices to play a vital role in supporting the clinical and operational functions at DHMC, while learning as they go. Now more than ever, we need a talented pool of healthcare professionals to meet the critical workforce needs in New Hampshire.”
The ApprenticeshipNH program was established in 2016 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. To date, 371 individuals and 61 New Hampshire companies have benefitted from CCSNH’s ApprenticeshipNH programs.
DHWRI is a registered career school with the New Hampshire Department of Education. DHWRI offers training and career advancement opportunities through comprehensive training programs that offer full-time employment with benefits; access to the state’s largest private employer, a nationally recognized teaching hospital and health system; the ability to earn college credits, state/national licenses, and certifications while being paid to learn; and experiential learning opportunities for high school and post-secondary students.
Photo: The cohort of five students began their healthcare apprenticeship program in March with classroom instruction at RVCC before starting on-the-job learning at DHMC. (left to right starting) Front row: Mary Ann Gaschnig (ApprenticeshipNH), Hailey Deforge, Iris Fukushima, Jessica O’Connor (Dartmouth Health), Lynne Lagasse (Instructor) Amanda Carsey. Back row: Acadia Dellinger, Morgan Sailer (RVCC), Colin Selby and Dan Osborne (RVCC). (Photo courtesy of ApprenticeshipNH)